Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust Acute Occupational Therapy Team commissioned Ad-Lib Training to help them deliver their vision of supporting their mental health patients adopt a healthier and more active lifestyle. To date Ad-Lib Training has delivered three Community Activator training courses to a range of mental health workers within the trust.
Shakira successfully completed and passed the course. Articulate and with a passion for physical activity and health Shakira kindly agreed to share her thoughts a year after passing her assessment.
Name Shakira Shakespeare
Location Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust
Role Occupational Therapy Support Worker
Can you give us a quick overview about yourself? I have worked in Mental Health for eight years, starting in an eating disorder unit. After two years I then worked within a GP surgery to deliver a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy programme to help obese people experiencing mental health difficulties lose weight and avoid surgery.
At the Trust I split my time working with patients at the Highgate Mental Health Centre and St. Pancras hospital.
What does your role involve? I support patients with their activities of daily living and encourage social inclusion via employment opportunities and access to community groups.
In addition, I deliver tennis sessions and walking groups and support circuit training. The aim is for patients to be active three times per week.
What attracted you to take part in the training with Ad-Lib? I wanted to learn new skills and acquire more knowledge that would give me confidence in delivering safe exercise to our patients.
What did you find particularly interesting on the course? The introduction to “Motivational Interviewing” style of communication and I loved the “patient centred empowerment” approach. It’s been useful to find out what patients really want to do in terms of physical activity.
What motivates you to continue learning? I have a great desire to help people be the best they can be. It is so rewarding to see our patients grow. The more I learn, the more effective I can be.
What else have you been able to implement from your learning on the course? I have used the guidelines to structure my exercise sessions, especially the warm up and cool down exercises. I communicate differently; asking more questions and listening to patients when they talk about their exercise and activity goals.
What are the most important qualities a person in your role should have? Rapport, engagement skills, patience and a flexible approach.
What does exercise mean to you personally Shakira? It makes me feel good. I think faster, I feel well and it clears my head.
So what training do you do? I focus on my tennis and I do plenty of resistance training.
Tell me something I don’t know about you? Ha-ha, my mum named me after a perfume bottle!
What is next for you on this journey? I am half way through becoming a fully qualified Occupational Therapist, so I will be even more effective in helping people to live meaningful lives.
What is your favourite quote? “When life gives you lemons, make Melononade!”
Thank you Shakira!